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Annie K.
Member since Apr-02-04 · Last seen May-30-17
Annie Kappel

My YouTube channel, featuring pronunciations of non-English chess player names:

I'm 42 y/o, of Transylvanian origin, living in Israel since childhood. I speak English (no, really), Hungarian (great language!), and Hebrew (if I must, which is often, for some reason).

Afflicted with an uncontrollable sense of humor and other highly controversial characteristics.

I learned chess as a child, but had no further opportunities to practice the game. Returned to it seriously around 2004, and have been hanging out here since.

Note: if I am not home (i.e., here), you can probably find me at the Domdaniel chessforum, the SwitchingQuylthulg chessforum, the visayanbraindoctor chessforum, or the chessforum! :)


<My City of Moscow skits:>

<<<<<<>>>>> Kramnik's Party -> City of Moscow (kibitz #752)

<<<<<<>>>>> Sochi 2008: An F-Files Production -> City of Moscow (kibitz #774)


<Game Collection: My GotD Puns>

<My favorites:>

All Your Baze Are Belong To Us - L Baze vs T Palmer, 2004 - GotD Mar-21-10

Y Yu No Claim Repetition? - Yu Yangyi vs M R Venkatesh, 2012 - GotD Jun-30-12

He Who Has E Tate is Lost - E Tate vs Y Shulman, 2001 - GotD Sep-22-16

How Many Roads Must Aman Walk Down? - S Shankland vs A Hambleton, 2014 - GotD Dec-23-16 (besides the obvious reason for the pun - a long King walk - note also the terms 'shank' and 'amble' embedded in the player names)

So me the Wei - W So vs Wei Yi, 2013 - GotD Jan-29-17

This Won't Borya Ider - B Ider vs Wei Yi, 2014 - GotD Apr-01-17 (follow-up to previous day's GotD, 'This Won't Borya')


<My other (linkable) site contributions:>

* The Player Names Pronunciation Project: (or look for names with a loudspeaker icon in the Player Directory)

* Created on my suggestion: Biographer Bistro

* The first (now retired) Carlsen Dancing Rook:

* The Caruana Dancing Rook:

* The Hou Dancing Rook:


<<<<<<< MAJOR CHESS SITES <<>>>>>>>>>

<< Correspondence chess <<<<<<>>>>>>>>

< ChessWorld ->

ChessWorld is my new main chess playing base. It's a rather restrictive site for non-paying members, but one of the best sites for paying members. The full features include excellent interface options and first class study and analysis resources. Nice community, likeable admin. Paid membership recommended.

< Update: while I will leave the original entry for ChessWorld as-is, I have by now been a member of the site for 2 years, and am now an admin there. I still think the site is one of the best, and the <other> admins are nice. :p >

My ChessWorld profile:

< Queen Alice ->

Queen Alice is a charming site - well behaved players, decent admin, site design visually very pleasant. It is also completely free. Unfortunately, it lacks team play, the interface and resources are relatively simple, and it can be frustratingly slow (loading times). Nevertheless warmly recommended.

My QueenAlice profile:

< GameKnot ->

GameKnot is technically an excellent site, however I would not recommend it to the serious player who is looking for a site to settle in, due to an anti$ocial admin with ju$t one $ingle intere$t in hi$ $ite... oop$, $orry about the typo$.

My GameKnot profile:

<< Other chess sites <<<<<<>>>>>>>>

< FICS - the Free Internet Chess Server ->

FICS is a great site to play chess at various faster time controls. There are a few difficulties getting started with it - first, it can be hard to find an email they will accept for registration; and second, there's a lot of site code to learn. But it's worth the hassle. :)

< ChessCube ->

ChessCube is quite good for fast time control games - provided you have a strong computer with broadband, as the site is entirely Flash based, which means it takes considerable computer resources to load. The site is nominally free, but heavily commercialized with all sorts of frills that can be purchased on it.

< Emrald Chess Tactics Server ->

Emrald is not a playing site - it is an invaluable tactical training asset. The only problem with it is also the difficulty of finding an "acceptable" email address to register with; but once past that hurdle, the site deserves nothing but praise.

It's a completely free site. You can play (practice) there as a guest, but they recommend registering, so that their program can keep track of your progress, in order to assign you puzzles best suited to your current level. I strongly second that recommendation. Register and always play logged in! It will make a huge difference in the site's ability to help you improve. An issue that scares some people off Emrald is that your progress is tracked via a "rating system", and because of the high importance they assign to speed, if you are not used to finding tactics fast, your rating will be very low at first - and many people are simply embarrassed to play logged in for that reason. Don't let it bother you! If you let embarrassment hold you back from letting the site help you improve to the best of its ability, you are only shooting yourself in the foot, and nobody else really cares that much anyway. ;p

A few of the people I've recommended Emrald to, had dropped it after a brief trial with remarks along the lines of "Oh, it's a blitz training site. I don't play blitz, so I don't like their obsession with speed." That reaction is absolutely wrong - and it's also one that many people who try the site out for only a short time are likely to have, if only because players who are used to being rated, say, 2000 and above, at corr. chess sites, are going to be annoyed and put on the defensive about finding themselves rated as low as 1200-1300 at Emrald, and will wish to dismiss the "insulting" site.

Yes, the Emrald rating system is heavily influenced by speed. But thinking that the site's purpose is blitz training is a complete misunderstanding of the lesson taught. The real purpose of Emrald practice is not to improve your blitz skills, but to train you to recognize dozens of tactical themes and opportunities AT A GLANCE - which will not only save you time in games of any time control, but is often the only way you will catch them AT ALL. Those brilliant tactical shots that can be seen in anyone's collection of "most memorable games", are often moves that will either occur to you as soon as you glance at the position, or you will miss them altogether. That's what Emrald really teaches - tactical chess intuition.

<Intuition in chess can be defined as the first move that comes to mind when you see a position. --- <Viswanathan Anand>>

<Personally, I am of the view that if a strong master does not see such a threat at once he will not notice it, even if he analyses the position for twenty or thirty minutes. --- <Tigran Petrosian >>


^ TL;DR.

Any other questions, feel free to ask. I might even answer. ;p

>> Click here to see Annie K.'s game collections. Full Member
   Current net-worth: 2,800 chessbucks
[what is this?]

   Annie K. has kibitzed 7154 times to chessgames   [more...]
   May-23-17 Annie K. chessforum (replies)
Annie K.: <Switch> you'd put Giri right to sleep, eh? ;s Good stuff! :D <Doc> thanks for the link. :) Hmm, but Terra isn't Tera, and I don't recall seeing any winged goddesses about... so where are *our* aliens?! ;)
   May-17-17 SwitchingQuylthulg chessforum (replies)
Annie K.: Take a coffee break! :)
   May-17-17 Chessgames Bookie chessforum (replies)
Annie K.: 2017 FIDE World Chess Moscow Grand Prix Round 6: Ding Ling - Vachier-Lagrave Hehehehe... errm, Ding who? ;)
   Apr-24-17 chessforum (replies)
Annie K.: The practical solution would probably be to just say that in year ____ he obtained the GM title, at the age of ___, which made him the __th youngest GM in history at the time.
   Apr-17-17 Yifan Hou vs Carlsen, 2017 (replies)
Annie K.: This should be interesting!
   Apr-15-17 OhioChessFan chessforum (replies)
Annie K.: <Jess> English is my third language. ;) Good thing we've got the biographies safely backed up these days!
   Apr-12-17 moronovich chessforum (replies)
Annie K.: <moronovich: <Thanks to <Annie K> for all the (hard?) work !>> Hi :) If you're curious how much work is involved in running the Bookie, you could try running a leg yourself? ;)
   Feb-22-17 WannaBe chessforum (replies)
Annie K.: Heh, no hurry! Thanks. :)
   Feb-20-17 WinKing chessforum (replies)
   Feb-14-17 Alekhine vs A Love, 1923 (replies)
Annie K.: <RandomVisitor: <Love conquers "Al".>> We have a winner! :)
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Procrastinators' Club (planned)

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 257 OF 257 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Annie K.: avoid giving your characters a name that gives away too much of their nature, or irreversibly locks them into the positive/negative, or otherwise "simple-definition" role they hold at the time of their first introduction>

Good advise.

I'm in an ongoing project to write and upload minority Philippine languages grammar books in you tube (apart from making daily hospital rounds and operating on heads), but I will try to stick to schedule and write one chapter of the Darkquake series per week (",).

In the next chapters, I will explore the idea of a ten thousand year old civilization, as represented by the Sari Confederacy.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Chapter 14. Pana in Bale, Part 2>

‘Damn!’ Alwana exclaimed. ‘Who could possibly know who you are in another realm across the Tela?’

“I have my suspicions but at that time I was shocked. I realized I was under the complete mercy of the letter senders, and that I would have to meet them. So I went to the rendezvous. It was the same Esdi girl that approached me in the bathroom.

She motioned for me to follow her. We went over to a mall beside my hotel, and entered a cinema. We sat side by side in the dark at the back, where there were few people. The girl wasted no time.

‘You are Pana. I’ll be honest; I’m a foreign agent in Deceptive Disguise. However, trust me that I am your ally. Now listen well, because the fate of our worlds depends on what we do.’

For the next several minutes she explained about the Sari and the Sun Drainer. How I could return to Tera during the interval when Tera and Bale merged. She passed on to me a USB drive that contained powerful spells for summoning Arch Wings.

And she told me how I could become ruler of this world.”

‘She told you to kill the reigning Supremo, in a one on one duel, didn’t she?’ Bodhi said with a sure tone to her voice.

‘You’ve guessed it, genius,’ Pana affirmed. ‘I guess it’s obvious that Bale’s darklings operate on the same Challenge Code as Tera’s Kindred and the darkling invaders during the Dark War. You claim what you kill.’

‘So how did you do it?’

“By my second month here I had become a world celebrity. The Esdi that slays darklings. My boss Bato managed to get an invitation to the Supremo’s Coliseum. I was to fight a series of darklings.

I turned out to be easier than I thought. I was paired with a series of Pawns. I managed to slay them all without pushing myself to the limit. Then that was supposed to be it. My spy friend advised me to do something more.

I surprised the crowd, including boss Bato, by requesting the Supremo that I Challenge any Adept in the audience. The darklings laughed, amused; the humans gawped, shocked. No human had ever beaten an Adept in a duel. Presently, the Supremo signaled at one of his subalterns to accept my Challenge. The Adept was a Dan 11. We fought one on one. I had on a light armor and a knife as usual. This time, I moved as fast as my abilities in my Child Aspect would allow me. It turned out I was much faster than the Adept. I slew it by jamming my knife into its maxilla, up through its ethmoid bone, and into its brain.

I kept on Challenging. Three more Adepts answered, a Dan 13, 17, and 19. I slew them all. By this time, the mood of the darklings had changed from amusement to shock. There was a human that was actually killing winged darklings! At this point, the Supremo stood up and asked me if I, a mere human, dare Challenge a Master.

Spy Girl had predicted that this moment would come. She had informed me that the Supremo had eliminated every darkling of Senior Regent rank and above as a threat to his political power. If I killed the Supremo, the highest Dans left that could Challenge me were the Junior Regents, in Tera the Dans 51 to 60. Those I could handle in one on one fights.

I called out ‘Supremo of Bale, I Challenge you!’

The Supremo was an ancient High Demon King, a Dan 97. Against such a creature, I knew I had only one chance. I should shoot my arrow into the Supremo’s eye while it was open. If he closed his eyes, I’m doomed. My arrow can’t penetrate the closed eyelid of a High Demon or any part of its skin.

The way to make him keep his eye open is by triggering him to attack physically. On the attack, any darkling opens its eyes by reflex in order to deliver its blows more efficiently.

The Supremo stared at me in disbelief. I yelled at him that he was a coward, cementing his power by assassinating and executing subalterns on the slightest of excuses, and not even being able to stand up to a mere girl.

The Supremo roared and sprang down at me from his box, talons extended for a killing blow. Naturally he kept his eyes open to see where I was. I instantaneously transformed into my Arrow Aspect and shot him through the eye in midair. He fell at my feet. I could still see the surprised look upon his dead face before he dissipated.

Spy Girl had told me very definitively that once I had slain the Supremo, I had to act fast in order to cement my claim. I followed her advice to the letter. I spoke in a dark-powered voice to the Hierarchy in the tiers above me. ‘I am Pana, a darkling like you. I Occurred two months ago in a darkquake. I have issued a Challenge to your Supremo and have slain him in a one on one combat. I claim my right to rule this world.’

I immediately jumped into the Hierarchs’ box and faced them. ‘Anyone here Challenge me?’

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: One the Junior Regents, a Dan 53, to my left growled. Apparently she thought I had to string up my bow in order to shoot her. Miss Spy Girl had also told me of this; that the darklings here had never had experience with a Salig Commando, and simply would not know how to fight me. I threw my arrow into the Dan 53’s eye backhand, piercing her brain.

Another Junior Regent, a Dan 59 leaped at me a claw outstretched, not knowing I could don on battle gauntlets. As he was reaching for me, I willed my gauntlets to appear. I jammed my gauntleted right hand into his claw, breaking the metacarpals, then thrust my left hand, fingers stiffened, into his nose, sphenoid, and midbrain.

Simultaneously, another Dan 53 was also leaping toward my back. I thrust out my suddenly booted foot straight at it. The combat boot’s spiked tip entered his eye and pierced his brain.

Six of the darkling Princes had crouched, readying themselves to attack but holding back, not knowing exactly what was happening or what I was. I shot all of them through the eye with my arrow. Apparently they did not know I could reacquire moving targets in milliseconds, reload at the speed of sound, and shoot my arrow at nearly light speed. They weren’t even moving but just standing there, which made my job easier and faster than usual. Darklings that invade Tera know to defend their eyes from a Salig Commando, but these did not do so. I suddenly realized I could shoot all of the remaining ones down. The higher Dans were already dusted off. But I should not do that. Without the Hierarchy, Bale would be thrown into a civil war among competing darkling factions.

At this point the Hierarch you know as Taklong stood up and raised his hand in a stiff salute. ‘I accept you, darkling Pana, as my Suprema.’

I was surprised. Spy Girl had proven right again. That Taklong would come to my side. She said that he had been an odd man out of the higher Dans and was marked for termination by the Supremo. I later learned that she had in fact talked to Taklong beforehand and secured his cooperation.

Spy Girl also mentioned that approximately 50 lower Dans were known to be particularly loyal to the Supremo or had bad attitudes. She had advised me that when I take over, it was best to eliminate them then and there before they could conjure up plots against me in the future. I backed off until the edge of the tier so I could survey the Hierarchs. She was right. 51 Hierarchs were openly glaring and growling. I let loose my arrow 51 times in a second or two. If they all had jumped me simultaneously, I would have been overwhelmed, but they were still confused at the turn of events, and were offering themselves to me as stationary targets. Most of them were lower Dans, whose bones my arrow could penetrate. I shot most of them though the heart instead of the head, sacrificing accuracy for speed.

‘We are having a change in administration,’ my dark-powered voice boomed out. ‘Darklings that growl and glare at me are considered Challengers. Anyone dispute this?’

One actually snarled at me. I shot her dead.

‘All of you kneel before me and swear the Baleian Oath of Fealty,’ I commanded.

‘I swear I am loyal to Pana as Suprema of Bale,’ Taklong immediately announced, kneeling. Most of the remaining Hierarchs followed suit.

Another dozen or so Hierarchs had kneeled but did not verbally swear allegiance, apparently still bewildered. I shot these confused silent ones dead. Spy Girl had advised me that the more ruthless I seemed to be, the better.

In the end only 23 of the Hierarchs remained alive. Only Taklong was of Junior Regent rank. Spy Girl had told me that this could happen, and that about two dozen were the ideal number of Hierarchs for me to rule Bale. Too many and there could be too many conspiracies to catch in their early stages. Too few and there would be less check and balance among the Hierarch factions, to tell on each other if there are plots against me.”

‘And I was right wasn’t I?’ An Esdi servant girl walked in through a backdoor hidden behind a curtain.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Annie K>

I'm curious if some of the Hungarian and other Eastern European folk dances have similarities to some of our dances from Western Visayas? Here are examples:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: I just got back from a 4-day "weekend" in Prague, organized by the company I work for, with brief side-trips to Dresden (nearby in Germany) and Karlovy Vary (aka Karlsbad). everything was very beautiful, if rather cold this time of year! :D

The program was pretty densely packed and exhausting, so I'll be recuperating and catching up here by and by. ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: Hi <doc> :)

Hmm, sorry, but I'm just about the last person to ask about the finer points of dances, folk or otherwise. I have no idea! :D

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Chapter 15. Planning to Hack the Star Drainer>

The servant girl looked completely ordinary dressed in a Palace maid’s uniform. Pana wasted no time in introductions. ‘This is Kayut the Esdi girl I told you about. Kayut, this is Oisa, Bodhi, Aya, and Alwana. Is everything ready?’

‘Yes. Who’s this?’ Kayut the spy girl was staring at J-1.

‘I am Communicator avatar J-1 of the Coliseum Tours Company. I’m here by plain bad luck. If I may say so, I had a dream about you.’

‘What!’ Pana exclaimed. ‘Avatars don’t dream.’

‘I mean like a vague recollection that I can’t quite clarify completely,’ J-1 explained.

Kayut was still staring at J-1. ‘That’s funny. You seem familiar yourself.’

The avatars looked at each other. Alwana grimaced. ‘Oh, no. Another ghost reality coming our way?’

‘If you can’t recall a memory of a ghost timeline, then the Tela does not mean it to be remembered,’ Bodhi asserted firmly. ‘You either remember it clearly or you don’t. No point wasting time on it. So what’s next, Pana dear?’

Pana waved her hand, beckoning them. ‘Let’s go then. Come on.’

With typical avatar promptness Pana walked through the curtained backdoor, with Kayut close beside her and trailed along by the four Arch Wings and J-1.

‘Mind explaining where we are going?’ Oisa asked. Behind the door was a tunnel lighted up by LED lamps. It sloped down underground.

‘To Saria. There’s a Folded Connection at the end of this tunnel,’ Pana answered. ‘Or rather, this is an emergency exit that I had extended toward a Folded Connection that Kayut’s organization discovered near Palace grounds. It was used by Sarian spies in the past. We are going to attend the Nangin-Sari Confederacy Assembly in Saria. Kayut, will brief you on the details of our plan.’

The tunnel branched several times. They passed through three locked doors. Pana opened each one with keys from her pockets.

Kayut began the briefing as they walked along. ‘The Confederacy Assembly will hold a final holographic meeting on the grounds where the Star Draining Spell will be effected. After the final tally of votes, the Spell will be cast. A structure that represents a control console machine, made of dark matter, is already in place there. You’ve seen them or at least their replicas in Ares’s Mysterious Coliseum; it’s pyramidal in shape.’

‘I take it that chances are that the Confederacy will approve since you helped summon us. When it begins, how exactly are we going to hack into their Spell?’ Alwana inquired.

Kayut loosened the top of her blouse, revealing a necklace. On it was a diamond the size of her thumb. ‘This diamond is an anting-anting charm, an object imbued with a dark-empowered virus that has been designed to tweak the Star Drainer spell. Once the spell begins, we throw it into the Dark Console. The virus hacks into the Spell. From there everything follows automatically.’

‘We just lob a stone into a pyramid? Sounds mighty easy to me,’ Bodhi commented. ‘What do you need us Arch Wings for?’

‘The Dark Console starts whizzing toward Saria’s star at near light speed the moment the Spell is activated, and it automatically avoids any intruder on intercept course to it. Very few creatures possess the speed and control to align with it properly and throw in an anting-anting.’

Oisa slowly nodded. ‘I see. You want us to go zipping after it in space. Why don’t I just go and destroy it with my doble espada?’

Kayut puckered her mouth. ‘There are actually several Control Console Pyramids, approximately a dozen, scattered all over the planet. They’ve designed a redundant system. Most of these are in tight security places, or in locations we don’t know. This is the only one that’s easily accessible to us. If you destroy it, the Sari will probably launch the rest simultaneously. Just one reaching their star will initiate the Drain. Even if you manage to destroy them all, the Sari would just make another in the near future. The key idea is that we have to allow the Draining Spell to commence before acting. Hacking into just one of the Control Consoles would do the trick, but only after it has been activated.’

They entered a door on a small side tunnel. ‘This labyrinth of tunnels is the Supreme’s emergency escape route,’ Pana explained. ‘Over the centuries many of the unmaintained ones have collapsed. Perhaps beginning hundreds of years ago, Sari spies started creating Folded Connections, with at least one in an unused portion of this maze.’

The small tunnel widened into a chamber. Taklong was there waiting for them.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Oisa looked at Pana questioningly. ’Don’t worry, Taklong has been in this since the beginning,’ Pana told her. ‘Several times after I had just taken over, he saved my ass from plotters among the Hierarchy. I’m a newbie to the intrigues in Bale’s highest political echelons, and I needed allies that I had to trust. Without him I would never have survived. As he is only a Prince, in return I protect him from the intrigues of Demon Kings within the Hierarchy. Darkling Princes usually don’t survive for long in the Baleian leadership, except if they have higher Dan allies and protectors. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Do you have the back-up Charms, Taklong?’

‘Uhm, no Suprema. As you know, Baleian darklings have lost the knowledge of making powerful anting-anting, and we do not have human Masters of Dark Energy to do so. So I had it made in another realm. I offered a cult of Sorcerers there human Esdi sacrifice. The order I placed for more back-up Charms did push through but some accident happened to the couriers. They were supposed to have delivered it around the time of the Arch’s summoning through an alternate Portal in my estate, but when I checked they never did.’

‘Hold on! Human sacrifices, you say?’ Alwana was frowning.

Taklong nodded. He pressed a key on his tabcom. A hologram of a macabre scene appeared on top of it. Darklings were slitting the throats of Esdis inside a pentagram of salt. As the humans died, the pentagram’s interior glowed.

Taklong’s voice took on a lecturing tone. ‘The pentagram is on my estate, but is metaphysically linked to another one like it in another random realm where Dark Sorcerers exist. It is as though it were these Sorcerers themselves doing the sacrifice, allowing them to power up their spells. Apparently in that realm, human sacrifices are illegal, and so they can’t do it openly and in bulk. I bought thousands of defective Esdis ostentatiously for the Bulang-Tawo pits, and had my lower Dan darkling minions sacrifice them.’

Alwana looked as if she were about to puke. Taklong pressed another button on his tabcom. The scene shifted. Figures with hazed-out faces appeared in a circle, weaving their arms in the air. White sparks jumped out of their hands and coalesced in the air into diamond-like stones. The gems dropped onto the ground in front of them.

‘As you see, they sent me videos of their success through metaphysical means. They did manage to make the Charms, but they never reached me.’

The Arch Wings looked at one another. ‘Damn!’ Oisa exclaimed.

‘What?’ Pana asked.

‘Those look like the stones the Extraordinaire squad I terminated carried. Don’t tell me they were Taklong’s couriers.’

Pana’s brows knotted in puzzlement. ‘It can’t be. The odds that Taklong’s Sorcerers reside in our Solar System is virtually nil. Must be a coincidence that the Charmed stones look the same. In any case it takes several days to make a Charm that powerful.’

‘Yes, Suprema. We have no choice but to carry through with the mission with this one Charm alone. I am profusely sorry.’ Taklong bowed in apology.

There was rubble piled randomly around the chamber. At the far end was a standing pentagram, an entrance to a Folded Connection.

Pana turned to Taklong. ‘You’ll stay here in Bale as planned, cover up for my temporary absence.’ She began speaking to the pentagram.

‘Mirror mirror on the air. Who’s the ugliest in this lair?’

A mechanical voice came out of the Portal.

‘It must be you assuredly, oh Coliseum Ugly.’

Alwana burst out laughing. Pana glared at her.

‘That’s a spelled password, moron, not a joke.’ With a huff Pana entered into the Portal and disappeared.

Oisa, Bodhi, Aya, Kayut, J-1, and Alwana, still chucking, followed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Chapter 16. The Portals of Saria>

They entered what looked to be a basement. Two weird-looking humans rose up and saluted them. One was over seven feet tall with red skin and hair; the other was a dwarf with yellow skin and white hair.

Pana and Kayut saluted back. Kayut’s skin color abruptly changed to orange; her features seemingly more exotic. She had shed off her Esdi Deceptive Disguise.

Without any further word, they climbed up the stairs into a residential type two story house, completely made up of plastic, glass, and metal. The colors and decorations were all computer generated holograms. There were a dozen people inside a large lounge. Somehow, they gave the impression of being soldiers on a mission or ER interns on duty; all alert and ready to move. The avatars stared at them. There was another seven footer giant, built like a hulking Kempatayan. Another was nearly as tall but as thin as an egret. There was another dwarf. Two were covered in thick fur. Two had wings. Some seemed to have grown prehensile tentacles on various parts of the body. The rest looked ‘normal’ human; except that their skins and hair were colored like the rainbow - blue, green, yellow, red, and all shades and combinations in between, plus jet black and silvery white. Their clothing was as varied as their looks.

‘That’s what you get from genetic engineering.’ Pana explained in Sinayabi. ‘Parents can have their sperms, eggs, or zygotes taken out of their bodies and genetically spliced and order for a child they want according to specialty of function or aesthetics. All of them can interbreed with each other though, and all are part of Homo sapiens. The humans as far as I can tell are almost exact echoes of ours, except for the genetic and phenotypic modifications that make them much stronger, faster, and healthier than Teran humans. Not as strong or as fast as Tamawo in Tera, but the Nangin-Sari culture bans avatars, Maranhig Possessed, Nasipak Abominations, Hybrids, Tamawos, or any other dark-augmented being.’

Kayut’s colleagues were looking at the Arch Wings with the silent air of mixed curiosity and apprehension a human exhibits in opening a box full of snakes.

Bodhi looked back at them. ‘Are they descended from clonal archetypes?’

‘Originally, some of them are, in the distant past. The winged ones for example came from a spliced archetype that was cloned millions of times; and later allowed to interbreed with other types, including ordinary unmodified humans. In the winged archetype, the acromnion bone on the shoulder was genetically manipulated to elongate and form a wing. Cloning nowadays in order to propagate a single genotype except in special circumstances is discouraged, in accordance to the Nangin-Sari adherence to universal diversity. So no two of them are exactly alike genetically.’

Oisa bowed Asian style before the Sarians before anyone else could speak. ‘OK I guess our reputation precedes us but there is no need to be scared. First things first. Why are you helping us? Forgive my bluntness but I would like you to clear up that matter before we cooperate with you. I am Arch Wing Oisa, the Warrior, by the way.’

One of the beautiful winged humans bowed back, and began speaking in Esperanto. The dialect was somewhat different from that of Tera’s and Bale’s, but completely intelligible.

‘May you abide in the Sari-sari, the many, Arch Wing Oisa, destroyer of the rigid and the insensitive. Welcome to Abot, Saria. I am Pako. There are many of us Nangin-Sari-sari who think that destroying two whole worlds that have evinced no aggression toward us is wrong, notwithstanding the presence of darklings in them.’

‘What’s wrong with darklings? You know that we Arch Wings and avatars in general are essentially darklings too?’

‘Yes; and that’s why they are banned from the Nangin-sari Confederacy. In the case of Arch Wings however, historical accounts have always deemed you as incarnations of basic Telar principles, that exist only for certain purposes. You are no threat, unless you go rogue; and such probability is acceptably miniscule to us and our allies.’

‘Who are your allies?’

Pako looked uncomfortable. ‘Just a few. Given the adversity of our culture to darklings, your presence here would be deemed controversial by many of our countrymen, which is one reason why all this is covert. We are also obviously a group with an illegal purpose, which is to sabotage the Star Draining spell. I assume Kayut has explained that to you?’


‘Which mean the less we know of your allies, the better,’ Bodhi interrupted.

‘Precisely right, Arch Wing.’

Pana tapped Oisa’s shoulder. ‘It’s alright; I asked them the same questions you asked and will probably ask. They have my trust.’

Oisa shrugged.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Seeing that none of the avatars had more objections, Kayut diplomatically announced, ‘All these probably may have come as a surprise. A room has been prepared for you, where you can rest for a while. We will be attending a Confederacy Assembly in a few hours. Meanwhile feel free to go about this house.’

A slim young man led them through a door at the back of the lounge and into a large room, with Kayut following. ‘I’m Dasig, Arch Wings, preservers of the myriad. As you can see, there are 6 beds, a bathroom, a ref, and a small kitchen with stocks of food. Most of us are vegetarians, and so everything here is derived from plant matter, although some taste exactly like meat or fish. There is also a Viewer attached to your room.’

‘Oh good, we of the Sun and Sky subside mainly on fish, rice, corn, and, vegetables. Tastier than Bugu coins.’ Alwana went over to the refrigerator and took a bottle marked ‘Orange Juice.’ She unscrewed the top and gulped down. ‘Hhmm, tastes like genuine orange.’

Dasig looked puzzled at the mention of Bugu coins, but said ‘Oh we have those type of foods as well. It is genuine orange. Our realms are echoes of each other as Kayut or Pana must have now explained to you.’

‘Oisa was also looking puzzled. ‘I thought I felt something when we entered this room. Maybe it’s because it’s a bit stuffy and dark in here.

‘Oh sorry, Ach Wing Oisa, partitioner of the powerful. House, air conditioner at 21 degrees. Light it up a bit,‘ Dasig announced.

A vent on the ceiling promptly began blowing cool air. The ceiling panel lights brightened.

‘Dasig was talking to the Room computer. You can request it for temperature settings and lighting. Most houses and other structures contain non self-aware computers that comprehend Esperanto and other languages,’ Kayut explained. ‘We don’t have your Communicator avatars to interphase with computers, or any other avatar, as they are banned in the Confederacy. Computers that can act as if they are sentient are also banned. Surviving records and oral tradition indicate that darklings, avatars, and AIs were responsible for some of our civilization’s worst catastrophes. The last one occurred around ten thousand years ago. It reset our civilization nearly back to zero, and deleted most historical data previous to that.’

Aya was walking toward the Viewer. ‘This looks like a wall hologram of a tropical forest after heavy rain. The mud sure looks real.’

Dasig nearly jumped in order to block Aya from walking into the hologram.

‘I apologize Arch Wing Aya, upholder of the small.’ Dasig bowed.

Pana looked amused. ‘Your hologram is an actual view of the forest. This is called a Viewer Portal; and it’s a Folded Connection that allows light to pass through. The Dark Arts here are much more advanced than ours in Tera. They can make Folded Connections where the tunnels are so short that they are virtually stable doors through the Tela that instantaneously take you elsewhere. If you walked through that ‘hologram’, you would have ended up in the forest wallowing in muck. It’s been spelled to be a one way tunnel, in order to prevent unwanted life forms from coming in, so you would have been stuck there until we modified the controlling spell so that the Connection would allow you entry back into this house.’

The four Archs gaped at the forest.

Dasig ahemed. ‘Most houses have such portals, to various places. You can walk to almost anywhere in the Confederacy through these portals.’

Pana was still smiling. ‘Yeah, so don’t bother to look for roads when you get outside. There are vehicles in the Confederacy, but they can usually hover and fly as they are powered by the Telar Increment Drive, same as our House Boat. See that second door beside the one we went through?’

Aya nodded. ‘Huo, yes.’

‘Come let’s go through it.’ Pana led the four Archs through it.

They found themselves on a landing on the second floor, looking down at the lounge where they had come from.

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  visayanbraindoctor: Oisa gasped. ‘Heck, Pana. The first door we passed through was a Portal to a Folded Connection! That’s what I felt when we entered our room. We passed through a tunnel in the Tela.’

‘Yes. We passed through a short-cut from the lounge on the first floor directly into a room on the second floor. The Portal-Door is actually a representation of several Folded Connections into various rooms of this house. If you notice there is a control panel beside the doorknob. You can order it to choose any room to go to. The rest of the rooms also have these intra-house Connections. Now if you don’t want other people in the house walking in while you are asleep in your room, the Portal is made so that you can lock it like any other door. And before you ask, yes, most houses, buildings, and other structures in the Nangin-Sari Confederacy are full of Portals like this one.’

Kayut walked up the Viewer Portal that Aya had mistaken for a hologram. She stuck her hand in it and muttered ‘Seashore.’ The view changed from that of a tropical forest to a sandy shore beside a blue sea. ‘Now that’s safer. If you walk in, you’ll find yourself on a harmless beach.’

Kayut turned toward the avatars. ‘Each Portal, whether house Door or Viewer, contains behind it several Folded Connections. The owner and inhabitants of a house are spell-linked to the house’s Portals so that they can control through which Connection they will pass. It takes a Master of Dark Energy to spell-link you, so as of now you would have to use the mundane doors in this house if you wish to go from one part of it to another without us accompanying you through the short-cut intra-house Portals.’

Alwana had finished drinking her bottle of orange juice, and dropped the empty container into a small garbage can. She frowned and peered inside more closely. ‘Heck, where’s the bottle?’

‘Oh, that Garbage Bin is also a Portal, to this Town’s Recycling Factory. The Bin automatically sorts the type of waste that you throw in into biodegradable, non-biodegradable, and dangerous types.’

Bodhi sighed. ‘I suppose even the toilet bowl here is a tunnel through the fabric of reality for the instantaneous travel of turd and pee?’

Kayut and Dasig looked at each other. Pana laughed. ‘Yes, Bodhi, even that too. We literally crap across space and time.’

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Annie K.> I am very busy nowadays- writing, editing, and producing an audio-video of an Ilonggo Visayan grammar book.

The girl on the video that is lecturing is my niece. We're planning to do 12 chapters of this Hiligaynon syllabus, plus another 12 chapters of a Karay-a (a Western Visayan language) syllabus.

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  Annie K.: <Doc> Sounds like a valuable project - have fun with it and take care. I'll take a look when I can get around to it. :)
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  visayanbraindoctor: <Chapter 17. Philosophical Musings on Diversity and Alien Civilizations>

After the avatars had taken a bath, changed to new clothes (which looked like ordinary Teran dresses to them), and eaten snacks from the ref, they settled down in their room watching various documentary and news channels in their rooms table computer’s holographic 3d screen. Many of the news broadcasters were dressed in what looked like ordinary Teran clothes.

‘J-1, what’s on your mind? You haven’t spoken much since Ares,’ Aya asked.

‘I am on recording mode,’ J-1 answered. ‘When in a situation I cannot control, I am programmed to stay silent unless directly questioned, and record everything in my tabcom and personal memory.’

Oisa bowed before J-1. ‘I apologize for slaying J-2. Under those circumstances, I had little choice. May she reincarnate to a better life in the Tela.’

J-1, not having been asked any question, remained silent.

Aya was watching the computer 3D monitor. ‘The Sari do not seem much different from us Terans,’ she commented. ‘At least that’s my impression from these videos.’

‘Nope,’ Alwana dissented. ‘We’re backward savages compared to them. They have a culture that possesses an ubiquitous system of technologically advanced Folded Connections, the Telar increment drive, and a star spanning civilization.’

‘No Bugu coins though. What are their energy sources?’

Pana pursed her lips. ‘They use their Folded Connections to create momentary stable rifts in the Tela to the Dark Realms in specific industrial complexes. Dark energy is stored in pyramidal shaped consoles. These are controlled by spells and are not AIs like our Bugu coins. The Nangin-Sari’s adversity to dark AIs rivals that of our Unitemplists.’

‘I can completely understand most of these broadcasters. Seems that a dialect of Esperanto is the lingua franca here in Saria,’ Oisa commented, watching the 3D.

‘It is,’ Pana replied, ‘and all throughout the Nangin-Sari Confederacy. Esperanto was chosen because it is a dead language. There is no species or race that speaks it as mother tongue; and it therefore cannot act as a language of colonialism. Speaking it does not accrue any higher unfair social status to any race or ethnic group. It acts as a sociologically leveling tongue hereabouts.’

‘Isn’t that the same situation in Tera nowadays?’ Alwana asked.

‘Yes but it did not start that way.’ Bodhi noted. ‘In Tera, our echo Esperanto is regarded as official Teran international language because it was enforced in the Great Dark War as the most common language of the Anachronistas. Had the Anachronistas decided to stay permanently in Tera, it would have become their colonial language, the tongue of the elite.’

‘Hey, I like the Nangin-sari’s attitude,’ Aya stated.

‘You’d like it even more when I tell you the way they have set up their political structures.’ Pana was smiling.

‘How so?’

‘For starters, the Nangin-Sari Confederacy is highly decentralized. The basic social structure for most of its worlds is called the Balanghay.’

‘What! You mean like in a cruise ship aka our Balanghay House Boat?’

‘They use the same word. We are in Abot Balanghay, Saria Planet, Nangin-Sari Confederacy. I suspect our own Household started out similarly; and sometime in the dark-shifted past, members of our Order emigrated into a cruise ship powered by Telar increment drive. It became the Shield; although with our shifted and deleted memories we probably will never know for sure.’

‘Our House Boat is designed to host the population of a Teran small town. Are you saying what I am thinking?’ Bodhi said.

‘Yes,’ Pana further elaborated. ‘There isn’t any large polity in the whole of the Confederacy. It’s all partitioned into what Terans would regard as towns, which is typically small enough so that anybody knows everybody. Political decisions are made by a Balanghay Council, whose members are usually democratically elected by people that know them. Regarding very important decisions, most of the townspeople can actually directly meet in a holographic computer-generated conference; participative democracy in action. Towns can merge some of their functions under a bigger body, called Districts. Districts can do the same to form loose Provinces. However no central body dictates it so. Merging and partitioning of polities happen all the time, as they please. The idea of a permanent Nation or any polity with rigid boundaries is anathema to them. The largest merged polity is the Confederacy of the Nangin-Sari; it’s tasked to decide on issues that concern the entire system. The Towns, by tradition give 1% of their residents’ taxes to the Confederacy so it can continue to exercise its minimal functions.’

‘Do they have echoes of intolerant ideologies like that of our Teran Unitemplists?’ Oisa interjected.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: ‘None. The Confederacy has few things to which it is totally intolerant. One of them is intolerant ideologies. Any thought-system that demands its followers to convert the whole world to it is banned. Another is of course darklings. You could say that the Nangin-Sari are intolerant to intolerance.’

Oisa was staring at Pana. ‘You mean we come to war on a system that we believe in? For all we know, by the way you speak, we and Father might have come from the Nangin-Sari!’

‘No, we do not come to war on them. We come to tweak their Draining Spell. I would never do anything to harm their way of life, which I like, same as you. Now that you mention our origins, I naturally searched their Confederacy Wide Web for such info. I found out that there is a town that speaks a dialect of Sinayabi in Saria.’

Seeing the other avatars gawking at her in surprise, Pana quickly added, ‘Caveat though; with our shifted memories, we can’t know for sure if this is the town of our origin. For all I know, we come from another echo in another realm in the Multiverse.’

The news broadcaster’s voice seemed to recede into buzzing incomprehensibility.

Finally Bodhi spoke out. ‘Saria is not where we ought to be. I can feel it in me deeply. We are Teran Sayabis; and their survival is linked to ours. Perhaps this is our purpose in this life. We protect a minority group about to become extinct so that our world can stop its slide to monocultural uniformity.’

Oisa nodded. ‘The Tela doesn’t care about power or majesty. Look at our Teran realm. From a singularity there arose energy, then quarks and gluons, then hadrons and all sorts of atoms, molecules, and life with all its variety, humans and their various cultures and ethnicities. Darklings too as a kind of negative reflection. From the single to the myriad; from the one to the many. The world is meant to be diverse.’

‘Centralists and Uniformists have always declared in a negative kind of way that what we want is anarchy and chaos,’ Bodhi pointed out. ‘Not that I agree with them.’

‘In the beginning of our realm, before its expansion and when it was still a dot of dots, reality may have consisted of a vague chaotic mess of interacting quantum fields’, Alwana differed. ‘From such primeval mess, there arose a stable domain full of variety. Order in diversity.’

‘You sound like what poor Tuman wrote in the Kaluwasan website.’ Aya close her eyes and quoted: “The gross perversity of centralist thinking is this: That in order to have order, uniformity has to be imposed. What follows are thought control, rigid social structures not amenable to democratic changes, one language, one ideology, centralized economies, totalitarianism of the state from one colonial center. Such is the recipe for a massive catastrophe too. It is well known to scientists familiar with chaos, complexity, and catastrophe theories that a massive uniform system tends to catastrophically collapse as it either eats itself up, or is unable to respond efficiently to any outside challenge or internal problem. Ecosystems that have lost much of their biodiversity are more prone to disasters than those that are biologically diverse. Dictatorships have a way of suddenly ending violently. Blame the woes of centralized Unitarian states to decision overload, blueprint solutions, or plain dictatorial tyranny, but the basic principle for such catastrophes of highly centralized states is the same. Order based on uniformity is not order at all, and in fact promotes catastrophes.”

Further philosophical musing was interrupted when the news broadcaster announced:

‘The Confederacy Assembly will meet in an hour in order to determine the final vote. There have been reports that dissident citizens against the project are planning to disrupt the Assembly in case the vote is yes. So people that listen in are advised that security measures have been installed by the Confederacy Servants in Tiro Island and around the Dark Console itself.’

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: ‘What’s a Confederacy Servant?’ Bodhi asked.

‘A member of an MDE Order dedicated to the Confederacy as a whole, same as our World Defense Force. The difference is that they virtually have no power over the Balanghays, can only act in ways specified by the Confederacy, and have no avatars. Each member of the Servant of the Confederacy takes a Binding Compulsion to follow the Confederacy’s wishes and to uphold its diversity.’

‘What if these Maestros go rogue? How does the Confederacy check their power?’

‘There are two other very similar organizations of MDEs, the Confederacy Attendants and Confederacy Devotees. All of them take the same Binding Compulsion to the Confederacy as the Servants. Together, these three Orders comprise the Confederacy Advocates. They check and balance each other.’

The broadcaster was droning on. ‘Meanwhile the Confederacy has signed a treaty with the Molith Empire further up the local spiral arm, redefining our boundary.’ The hologram switched to a creature that looked like a cross between an octopus and a slug. It was signing a document with a tentacle, across a human that was doing the same.

Oisa jerked up. ‘There are aliens here?’

Pana grinned. ‘Surprise! Actually there are no advanced non-human sentient species within the Confederacy, but as it expanded through the millennia, it encountered other civilizations. Some of the new species are human echoes; some are not. The Molith are an echo of our typical Teran mollusk.’

‘I take it that the Molith and Sari are at peace. What if the Molith invades the Confederacy?’

The Military of the Servants of the Confederacy acts as the Nangin-Sari’s external Defense ministry against alien threats. Tera and Bale are regarded as such threats by the way.’

‘No wonder the Baleian darklings look as though they’ve been infused with mollusk characteristics, with their tentacle-like appendages,’ Bodhi noted.

‘Yes,’ Pana affirmed. ‘We know that darklings are negative echoes of a mix of animals most familiar to humans, such as carnivores, bovids, insects, reptiles. In this realm, there is an additional admixture - mollusks. Recently there has been an upsurge of interest in the Molith Empire. Many parents have decided to incorporate Molluscan characteristics in the genetic engineering of their children. That’s why you see some of the Sarians having tentacles.’

‘Why aren’t there Molith or other alien species around Tera?’ Aya asked. ‘There must be such creatures somewhere in our realm’s Universe according to a probabilistic estimate.’

‘You mean the GTAP equation?’ Bodhi noted.

‘Yes, the Guess The Alien Probability.’

Bodhi closed her eyes and recited:

‘The number of Milky Way galaxy civilizations capable of interplanetary communication is equal to the product of the average rate of star formation in the galaxy, the fraction of those stars that have planets, the average number of planets that can potentially support life, the fraction of planets that actually support life, the fraction of planets with life that evolves to become civilizations, the fraction of civilizations that develop interplanetary communications, and the length of time over which such civilizations broadcast such communications.’

Alwana shook her head. ‘It gives an inordinately large probability of Terans encountering alien civilization. It may be true in this realm of Bale and Sari, but not for ours. Thus the paradox is that why haven’t we been visited by aliens in Tera.’

Pana placed a finger and thumb under her chin, taking on a somber façade. ‘The Sari know why, or at least they claim to.’

Alwana’s raised her eyebrows. ‘What?! Why then haven’t we been visited by aliens in Tera?’

‘The Sari believe it’s because aliens fear our planet, because there are darklings in it. No one dares to communicate with us.’

That caused Alwana to pause. Then she began chortling with laughter. ‘You mean they fear us, specifically? Avatars and Arch Wings? You’re really a dork Pana.’

‘I told you the Sari believe that your kind are the terrible winged goddesses of legend, the destroyer of adharmic civilizations across the stars. Who the hell wants to pinch the toe of such beings?’

Alwana reached forth beneath the table and pinched Pana’s toe. ‘There, I pinched your toe. Now destroy me.’

‘Come on Alwana, you’re the Arch Wing, not me. I’m Gisaligan.’

‘A division of Salig Commandos like you can probably destroy this whole planet. They don’t have avatars here to defend them.’

A knock on their door interrupted the brewing avatar debate. It was Kayut. With her were Pako and Dasig.

‘We are going to attend the Confederacy Assembly in Balanghay Bagatnan Island. If it is decided that the Draining spell be initiated, we request one of the Arch Wings to go after the Pyramidal Console.’

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: We finally edited, produced, and uploaded all planned 12 chapters of the Ilonggo Visayan grammar book. (I have future plans of adding another 12 chapters though.) Link to the channel:

Premium Chessgames Member
  SwitchingQuylthulg: <Annie> My style still remains as dull as ever... :)

[Event "rated blitz match"]
[Site "Free Internet Chess Server"]
[Date "2017.05.22"]
[Round "?"]
[White "NN"]
[Black "Quylthulg"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1989"]
[BlackElo "2063"]
[ECO "A10"]
[TimeControl "300"]

1. c4 b6 2. Nc3 Bb7 3. e4 e6 4. d4 Bb4 5. Bd3 f5 6. f3 Nh6 7. exf5 O-O 8. fxe6 Nc6 9. d5 Ne5 10. exd7 Qh4+ 11. g3 Qe7 12. Kf2 c6 13. Kg2 Qxd7 14. Bxh6 gxh6 15. Be4 Rad8 16. Nge2 Nxc4 17. Qd4 cxd5 18. Rad1 dxe4 19. Qxd7 exf3+ 20. Kh3 Rxd7 21. Nf4 Bc8 22. Rxd7 Bxd7+ 23. Kh4 Be7+ 24. Kh5 Rf5+ 25. Kg4 Ne5+ 26. Kh3 Rxf4+ {White resigns} 0-1

[Event "rated blitz match"]
[Site "Free Internet Chess Server"]
[Date "2017.05.22"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Quylthulg"]
[Black "NN"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2066"]
[BlackElo "1986"]
[ECO "A04"]
[TimeControl "300"]

1. Nf3 g6 2. g3 Bg7 3. d3 c5 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. e4 d6 6. Bg2 Bg4 7. h3 Bxf3 8. Bxf3 Qd7 9. Be3 Nf6 10. Qd2 h5 11. Bg2 O-O-O 12. a3 Kb8 13. b4 cxb4 14. axb4 a6 15. b5 axb5 16. Nxb5 Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Bxa1 18. O-O Bf6 19. Rb1 d5 20. Bg2 Qf5 21. Bb6 Rd7 22. d4 e5 23. Qc3 exd4 24. Qa3 Qxc2 25. Ra1 Kc8 26. Qa8+ Nb8 27. Na7# {Black checkmated} 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: <Switch> you'd put Giri right to sleep, eh? ;s Good stuff! :D

<Doc> thanks for the link. :)

Hmm, but Terra isn't Tera, and I don't recall seeing any winged goddesses about... so where are *our* aliens?! ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Annie: Hmm, but Terra isn't Tera, and I don't recall seeing any winged goddesses about... so where are *our* aliens?! ;)>

I'm just speculating of course. Maybe *our* aliens (if they exist) fear something in *our* Terra. (",)

I was thinking of writing several chapters on this theme for the avatars' Tera, but it goes so far off tangent to the main story line that I've decided to skip it and keep the idea for the future.

Right after I posted <We finally edited, produced, and uploaded all planned 12 chapters of the Ilonggo Visayan grammar book> we reviewed it. There was a big error in a page in chapter 3, which I planned to revise. But my niece decided she did not like the way she looked and sounded, insisted on deleting the entirety of chapter 3, and make a new one. We also made revisions to chapter 4. That's why the two most recent chapters in the channel are now chapters 3 and 4, instead of 12.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Chapter 18. The Right Side>

Somewhat to the avatars’ surprise, Kayut went up to the Viewer, which was still showing the beach, and stuck her hand in it, muttering ‘Abot depot’. The scenery changed to that of a large hall as seen through one of its walls. There were people inside, walking, entering from and exiting to intermittently appearing Portals on the walls. The Portals were marked by names of various places.

J-1 cleared her throat. ‘I don’t think I should be going. I am useless to your mission. The less avatars that can be exposed, the better. If I may request, could I remain here? I could spend my time talking with the Sarians in this house.’

The Wings and Pana looked at each other. Oisa shrugged. ‘Very well J-1. Just don’t get into trouble.’

‘Yes Ma’am,’ J-1 politely assented.

Pako, Dasig, Pana, Oisa, Bodhi, Aya, Alwana trouped through the Viewer-Portal. ‘This is Balanghay Abot’s Transport Hub,’ Kayut pointed to a midair holographic projection in the center of the hall showing the word ‘Abot’. ‘From here we gain entry to one of Bagatnan’s depot, and from there to the location of the Confederacy Assembly on that island Balanghay.’

Pako and Dasig greeted and were greeted by some of the transients. They were all humans were obviously town mates from Abot. The two went up to a computer table with an empty hologram on top of it, one of many spaced equidistantly around the hall. Pako requested, ‘Bagatnan Island please.’

A green arrow appeared on the table comp’s hologram. It pointed to a Portal on the wall; which promptly flashed the word ‘Bagatnan.’ The company walked through it, and into another Hub.

This one had the word ‘Bagatnan’ on its central hologram. It was crowded with people, most of whom were walking toward one of its walls whose entirety had been converted into a large Portal.

‘That’s the Portal to the place where the Assembly will be held,’ Dasig explained.

They walked into the Wall Portal and out of a Spelled Pentagram on a field of green grass on the slope of a small mountain. On the mountain’s foot was a town. Beyond it was the sea.

‘By the Tela, this looks like Amihan Island!’ Alwana exclaimed. Even Pana was looking curiously around. She clearly had never been to the island.

Pako beside her nodded matter-of-factly. ‘Probably an echo of your Amihan.’

The sloping field was full of people and make-shift tents and modular dwellings. There were thousands of people and hundreds of vehicles. Most of the vehicles looked like Teran cars, vans, and trucks, except that they floated and zoomed around in the air. The biggest ones though looked like smaller versions of the Sun and Sky House Boat.

The four Arch Wings gawked. Pana grinned. ‘I did not know that the terrible winged goddesses of legend can be struck dumb by flying cars and miniature Shields.’

Alwana glared at her. ‘You know we’ve never seen such vehicles before.’

‘You haven’t? The bigger ones double as leisure boats on which Telar increment drives have been installed. They’re much like our Balanghay House Boat. Your Wings do the same incremental-hops-through-reality thing. You are hovercrafts shocked by other hovercrafts.’

Before Alwana could retort, Bodhi interrupted them. ‘I would guess that they all have the Telar Incremental Drive. They are actually falling down all the time, but their Drives constantly bring them back to their original positions in midair. That’s how they float. The Incremental Drive also enables them to jump around incrementally across reality so as to give the impression of high velocity.’

Dasig nodded. ‘You are correct, Bodhi. Pardon me; I can’t use a Name of Respect for you as other people may be listening. Many of these people came here via these Telar Incremental Drive Vehicles as they were not able to book passage through the Portals. Bagatnan’s Transport Hub is near to overload as it is.’

‘Anyone can attend a Confederacy Assembly meeting?’ Aya inquired.


‘But there must be danger of assassination. Leaders in Tera always have to watch out for such attacks.’

‘Not here. The meeting is done through holographs and Viewer Portals. Representatives of the Balanghays stay in their offices or homes. Most of our dissident allies are also in their homes looking on through Viewers. I better contact them now that we’ve arrived.’

Dasig began talking into the air. ‘Mr. Quick here. We are now on site. Everything as it is. Servants are patrolling. Attendants are guarding.’

Bodhi looked at Dasig, askance. ‘What was that all about? You were talking to people away from here?’

Pako answered for Dasig. ‘Yes he was using his In-Head Computer. That’s our equivalent of your arm-borne tablet computers. Instead of being attached to Sarians’ wrists, our personal computers are directly implanted inside the back of our skulls, with extensions to various parts of their brain. See those teenagers there?’ He pointed to five youngsters, garbed in resplendent clothes, and seemingly staring into midair.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: ‘What about them?’ Aya asked.

‘First, they are wearing only skimpy clothes. Their magnificent clothes are holographic projections from their skulls’ computers. Second, they are probably watching a movie, or chatting with their friends or each other.’

‘They are?’ Aya peered at them more closely. ‘I don’t see how.’

‘Their In-Head computer directly sends signal to the calcarine fissure of the occipital lobes, stimulating the visual cortex; and to the temporal lobe, stimulating the center for hearing. The computer also picks up outputs from the brain’s speech center on the side of the frontal lobe and translates them into a human language. They see the videos or talk to their friends with signals from brains.’

‘Yeah,’ Pana affirmed. ‘I thought it was telepathy at first. People here often would suddenly begin staring in the air, talking with other people halfway round the world ’

Bodhi nodded. ‘That’s expected. For civilization so old, it must occur sooner or later.’

Aya was frowning. ‘So you guys can go off and live in a virtual world, made by inputs and outputs from your skull computers. And why don’t you people just upload your consciousness permanently into computers? Lots of sci-fi stories are based on such theme. Create a world where bodies don’t exist; only minds inside computers.’

Dasig shook his head. ‘Only addicts go to these make-believe virtual worlds to the detriment of their physical bodies. Once your natural body dies, so does your virtual self. Such prolonged In-Head computer activity is banned, in order to decrease such addiction. If you’re caught going over limits, the sanction is to permanently remove your skull computer. In our society, that’s like life bereft of your limbs.’

Aya shook her head. ‘But we avatars started without natural bodies. We were program AIs inside computers. Now we are in the ‘real’ world. Surely there must be a way of reversing our birth. A human mind goes into the computer.’

Pako looked troubled. ‘It’s unclear why, but the Tela resists such a reversal, as you put it. The human mind that tries to enter the computer world tends to lose self-awareness eventually. People would have done it a long time ago if it were possible without harm, and their digital selves might even have evolved into a super-intelligent being by now.’

‘Well, that’s appropriate to what we know of the Tela.’ Bodhi rubbed her chin thoughtfully. ‘Arch Wings like myself and many combat avatars have the ability to reenter the computer world, but we can’t stay there forever, or else we begin to lose our capacity for independent thought and revert back to becoming mundane computer programs. As for your digital super egghead scenario, a self-aware being tends to desire control over its environment. If such AI were super-intelligent enough while retaining self-awareness, it might well desire to implement absolute control over everything, which in turn would encourage it to transform the multiverse into a uniform predictable plaything for itself. It would exert total control over the Tela. However, the Tela abhors uniformity, control, and rigid determinism. To put it in another way, you can only either have one ultimate intelligence in a deterministic universe, or a myriad of sapient beings in a diverse multiverse.’

Dasig disagreed. ‘I’ve heard of that theory, but I don’t believe it. You talk as if the Tela were some super-intelligent being itself that prevents would-be rivals from reaching its level; but the Tela has never given any indication that it is self-aware. There’s a simpler reason why our society forbids cyber addicts from trying to upload their consciousness permanently into computers. It’s taboo. As you say, the first avatars were made inside these computer-generated worlds. A Master of Dark Energy can directly program his In-Head computer to make such a virtual world, imagining the likeness of an avatar in it, and infusing dark energy into it. Somehow such an activity directly manipulates the Tela. Once taken out of the computer world into this one, the construct remains stable because of fundamental Telar manipulation. Everyone knows that’s the concrete reason why there are strict limits to In-Head computer activities - the fear of someone creating an avatar program inside the digital world and then pulling it out into the real world.’

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Bodhi sighed. ‘We were made that way you know. So that’s old news to us. It’s strange that Terans can do this thing, and do it quite well, that a ten thousand year old civilization like yours avoids. By the way our MDEs program their computers with the aid of their Seals from the ‘real world’ in order to create avatars in the computer world. You don’t need to enter a computer generated construct if you have a Seal. From your news and documentaries, I already know that your MDEs don’t have Seals. They just study the hell out of the Dark Arts and use your pyramidal consoles to manipulate dark energy. Perhaps our Maestros’ Seals began as dark consoles.’

An Incremental Vehicle suddenly zoomed above their heads. It was full of uniformed personnel armed with tube-like weapons. Oisa scanned it, looking worried.

‘Why is security so tight?’

‘Oh those are Confederacy Servants. Don’t worry. Even though they are Masters of Dark Energy, their dark instruments won’t detect you because of the Spelled Collars I had you put on your necks in the Supreme’s Coliseum,’ Pana assured her.

‘There are always Servants, Attendants, or Devotees in these Assemblies, but not to protect the Representatives, but the ordinary people that watch and listen. No one really knows when a nut-job might just lob a bomb into this crowd,’ Pako clarified.

‘If the Representatives are here as holograms, why don’t the people listen as holograms too? Or everybody just go to a virtual world generated by your skull computers. Safer for everyone,’ Bodhi pointed out.

Dasig shook his head. ‘It’s more dangerous. People that die in a computer generated world often suffer from temporary brainstem dysfunction in the real world. Their BP, HR, or RR often drop to zero momentarily. Some of them die for real because of the resulting hypoxia or neurogenic shock. And it’s easier to make a virtual bomb and set it off in the computer world than in the real one.’

Pako shrugged, his downy wings fluttering. ‘In addition, it’s just a tradition of forgotten prehistory. People have always attended in person the Confederacy meetings when they first started ten thousand years ago. So did the Representatives. As more polities joined the Sari Confederacy, security for the ever growing number of Representatives became a concern, as was direct communication between the Reps. Eventually the physical meetings evolved into virtual ones, with the use of holograms and Viewer Portals. However, until today certain traditions have been followed. The Assembly has always been open to the physical public.’

While they were talking they were also walking among thousands of people on the sloping field. The tents and modular housing units were aesthetically colored by holographic projections. Above them Incremental Vessels hovered and flew.

Dasig, who was leading them in front, stopped at a tent-for-rent. He and the owner stared at each other for a few seconds.

‘Done,’ the owner abruptly announced. ‘The tent is all yours.’ The owner walked toward another nearby tent where another customer was waiting.

Bodhi raised her eyebrows. ‘What just happened?’

‘I just paid for our tent with Baylo credits,’ Dasig stated.

‘Huh? What’s that? How did you pay anything?’

‘We linked our In-Head Computers. Then I transferred Baylo credits to his account. The Baylo is currently the most popular of dozens of decentralized currencies used in the Nangin-Sari Confederation. In accordance with our philosophy of decentralization there is no central governing agency that regulates currencies.’

Bodhi did a take. ‘You mean there is no world-wide central bank function that a World Defense Force discharges.’

‘What’s a World Defense Force?’

Pana was smiling. ‘Dasig would not understand as he has never been to Tera. Our medium of exchange in Tera is essentially energy itself in the form of Bugu coins, but those are idiot dark AIs, which are banned here. One Baylo Credit allows you to technically buy an amount of energy equivalent to what we would calculate as about 2.4 kilocalories, the equivalent amount of food an average human being consumes each day. So if you have one Baylo, you can buy enough food to last you a day, although it would be the most basic stuff. Adding flavorings and other ingredients raises the price of food. The economy here is conducted through these virtual coins or promissory banknotes linked to them. We’re already familiar with the latter, because that’s what Unitemplist Nations use. As in Tera and Bale, payment cards and all sorts of financial instruments may be used, but for the most part transactions are done through In-Head Computers. The Sari-Sari Confederacy virtual currencies themselves are decentralized; there are no theoretical central banks that were common in the early days of the Teran Great Dark Shift.’

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: They entered the tent. Inside was like a like a hotel suite, with chairs, beds, a table computer, a ref, two bathrooms, and a kitchen.

‘How do we see the Assembly meeting inside a tent?’ Aya asked looking at the tent’s opaque folds.

Kayut spoke to the table computer, ‘See through and voice through’. The opaque tent turned transparent. ‘The tent computer understands Esperanto, like our house computer. The opaque green color of the tent’s interior is just a holographic projection.’

The avatars attention was suddenly diverted as a voice boomed out of the air.

‘May you all abide in the diversity and harmony of the Sari-sari. Welcome to the Confederacy Assembly. I am Representative Hambal of Bagatnan Balanghay, your host and moderator.’ A giant hologram of a face appeared in the afternoon sky. Hambal looked like a Teran Nova Continenter.

Oisa did a double take. ‘A dark-powered voice!’

‘Yes,’ Dasig confirmed. ‘Hambal is using a Spelled Dark Console to project his voice in incremental reality shifts. It’s the same principle as the Incremental Vessels, but instead of a vehicle, what undergoes incremental reality shifts are the sound waves of his voice. The Reps speak to each other through Incrementally Augmented Voice. It’s a powerful tool that allows thousands of people to hear speeches addressed to the public. Electromagnetic communication through In-Head Computers is the main tool used though. Through their skull computers those holograms of the Reps we see above us are able to communicate with each other over vast distances.’

Bodhi smiled. ‘Much better than Telar loudspeakers and mikes.’

Holograms of thousands of faces began to appear in midair above the field. They moved about, often floating toward each other when they talked. Most of the arguments apparently centered on the need to destroy darklings vs non-aggressive if darkling-containing worlds.

Pretty soon it appeared that some of the individual Reps (or at least their holograms) were grouping themselves together.

Dasig motioned toward a group of Representatives whose holograms had moved toward each other. ‘Those Reps are forming an alliance within the Assembly. That one is pro Star Drainer, pro terminate darklings. You can deduce it from their speeches. They project their speeches out in electromagnetic waves, which our In-Head computers can tune in or out.’

Pako gestured at another group. ‘That one is anti Star Drainer, pro Bale and Tera. They are using the same arguments that we use. The difference is that they will accept whatever this Assembly decides with fatalism. We won’t; and that’s why we’re here.’

‘So where is the Dark Console where we are supposed to throw in the virus diamond?’

Kayut pointed to the top of the mountain. There was a battalion of uniformed Confederacy Attendants there. ‘It’s up there. It’s too small to be seen, though. Would you Arch Wings be able to fly after it from here when it goes up?’

Oisa turned her head up. ‘I can see it, with my dark-powered vision. Yes I should be able to, as long as it flies below light speed. Do the Servants know of any Spell that can slow me down or even capture me?’

‘Yes.’ Dasig abruptly walked out of their tent-suite. He announced, ‘Mr Quick here. Angels are in the coop. I repeat, angels in the coop.’

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Oisa gazed at Dasig for a moment, eyes wide open. The she jumped toward the tent’s entrance. An invisible barrier slammed her back in. Pana flared into her armored Arrow Aspect and tried to tear a hole in the tent’s fabric at her side. Her gauntlets slid of the tent’s material, repelled by some kind of Spell.

Pako grimaced. ‘You traitor!’ He spread his wings and leaped, flying just above ground level through the tent’s entrance, aiming for Dasig. Unlike in Oisa’s case, the tent’s entrance allowed him to pass. As he reached for Dasig, the latter reacted with almost inhuman speed. He jumped sideways, allowing Pako to miss him, the delivered a karate chop. It hit the passing Pako on his neck. Cervical bones cracked. Pako crashed to the ground, apneic, C-3 spinal cord transected.

Dasig gazed at the asphyxiating Pako. ‘You forgot I was genetically designed to be super-fast, agile, and strong. Beats wings in close combat. My apologies but it’s you who is the traitor to the Confederacy. I know which side I am on.’

He turned toward the Oisa, Bodhi, Aya, Alwana, and Pana, still trapped inside the Spelled tent. He bowed.

‘I am actually Devotee Dasig, an acolyte in training to be an MDE. You’re darklings. Although I respect your power and intentions, you still have the potential to obliterate the entire Nangin-Sari Confederacy. Ditto for the other darklings, avatars, Possessed, and Hybrids in your world. Tera and Bale have to be destroyed. I am sorry but what are two planets compared to the dozens in the Confederacy? Kayut, you are under arrest for high treason.’

Kayut, who had elected to remain in the tent, had a stupefied expression. ‘Dasig? You were in this from the beginning. You were instrumental in expanding our dissident organization.’

‘Yes, I played along in order to identify all activists with the potential for treachery.’

Incremental vessels began zooming in on their tent, full of armed Confederacy Servants. They cordoned off the area from the bewildered crowd on the field. On the ground, Pako’s pupils dilated as his brain died from lack of oxygen.

Oisa stood tall. Wings sprouted on her back, doble espada flared in her hand. An incandescent blue halo shone around her head. She leaped mightily, straight up. The Spelled rooftop of their prison-tent flung her down.

‘It’s no use, Oisa, save your energy,’ Bodhi advised her house sister. The avatars looked up at the clear blue sky. Saria’s yellow sun shone indifferently back. In the cooling afternoon air, the Representatives’ holograms kept on a buzzing debate.

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